Published: September 22nd 2009
Source: By Luann Lasalle - Canadian Press
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Canada's major railways are expecting a gradual economic
recovery after experiencing layoffs and reduced shipments of cars,
retail goods and natural resources.
"When it's all said and done it may take several years to recover
the lost output and envision the peak levels of 2006-2007," Luc
Jobin, chief financial officer of Montreal-based Canadian National
Railway (TSX:CNR), said Tuesday
Prospects for consumer spending will improve but could be dampened
by high levels of debt and unemployment, Jobin told the CIBC Eastern
Institutional Investor Conference.
Fred Green, president and CEO of Calgary-based Canadian Pacific
Railway (TSX:CP), said grain shipments have been stronger and potash
could rebound but other sectors of its business haven't.
"I don't mean to depress anybody, but I am just saying activity
levels that we are seeing are modest," Green told the conference.
He also said container shipments of retail goods will be "soft" for
the rest of the year and possibly into early next year.
Calgary-based CP Rail still has 2,000 people laid off and Green said
some employees will be brought back to do locomotive maintenance and
to be on standby should potash shipments pick up.
Jobin said Canadian National, which has major operations across
Canada and into the United States, had about 650 people out of work.
As well, 20 per cent of its cars and locomotives were parked at the
end of the second quarter as the company scaled back in response to
the recession's impact on its business.
Green said the auto business has been "brutal" and shipments of
forest products have been affected by a housing slowdown in the